The Irish Sun newspaper has been fined €100,000 for contempt of court for what the Central Criminal Court called its deliberate and conscious effort to prejudice the outcome of a murder trial.
The trial of three young men accused of the murder of Russell Deane in February 2003 opened last week. However, it collapsed today and the jury was discharged because of further misreporting of the evidence in two other newspapers.
The Irish Sun was in the dock because of what trial Judge Barry White called the pejorative and inflammatory language it used in a report on the trial.
The article published by The Irish Sun was rewritten in London from agency copy supplied in Dublin.
Mr Justice White told the jury today that he considered the article a contempt of court. He said it was not fair or objective and had the capacity to interfere with the accused men's right to a fair trial.
He considered the cost of lawyers for two days of the proceedings and then levelled the fine of €100,000 against The Irish Sun.
The Mirror newspaper was also criticised for a factually incorrect report, but was not fined.
Despite last week's media reports, Mr Justice White had felt he could adequately direct the jury in his final speech to it, and allowed the trial to continue.
He did not accede to a defence counsel proposal to have all media copy of the trial vetted by their solicitors before publication.
However this morning, when another inaccurate report of yesterday's proceedings, supplied by an agency, was published in the Irish Examiner and The Star, the trial was halted.
The jury was then discharged and a new trial date will now have to be set.
A further inquiry into today's publications will be carried out by Mr Justice White tomorrow morning.